Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bravo Seven, Forty-One, Zero Echo (Writer’s Workshop)

WARNING: Tech talk ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

I’ve been writing this blog since January 2012, and sometime in the very near future I will arrive at post #1500. There won’t be a whole lot of hoopla; I made a big enough deal about #1000 and haven’t planned on doing a major celebration until #2000, which will happen sometime next year. I’m not going to try and figure out when; my head hurts enough.

Lately I’ve gotten it into my tiny little mind that I want to get an index of my posts, as a way to avoid repeating myself (which I do a lot of, you might have noticed). Trouble is, there’s no easy way of saying to “Hey, gimme a list of all my posts, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeze?” I could sit with the index screen, where the posts are listed in reverse order, twenty posts to a screen, meaning I’d be looking at 75 screens and writing down (okay, typing down) each entry on the screen. That can be a real drag, plus after a while Firefox (indeed, practically any browser) starts to slow down and eventually hits the brakes when you do stuff like that, and you end up having to kill Firefox (because things are so jugged up it won’t close when you hit Command-Q) and restart the computer

So I checked WordPress again, and lo and behold, they have a plugin that will do what I want it to do, but it’ll cost me to have it installed on, because then I’d have to pay for Pro support, and that’s more than I want to do (although then I’d be able to design my own style sheets and do other stuff you don’t get with the free version). I just want a list of the names of my blog posts.

Then, I have a brainstorm: If I could install on my Mac, I could export this site and import it into the one running locally. I would then have access to the WordPress database and be able to run a query against the tables. Voila! I’d have my list, which I could then update as I add more entries. Easy peasy, no?

Well, easier said than done.

In order to do this, I need what’s called a LAMP stack. LAMP is an acronym for “Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.” I’ve installed LAMP stacks before, and in fact the Mac includes all the fixin’s for one. Mac OS is based on the UNIX operating system, as is Linux, so the L is taken care of, and they deliver the other three components along with cryptic instructions on how to install them and make them work. Once upon a time, when I was a lot closer to the technical world, I managed to get the delivered software working. Then, I installed a new release of Mac OS, and it tore the whole environment apart, much to my chagrin.

After that, a friend and I were talking, and she mentions something called XAMPP. XAMPP is, for lack of a better way to put it, “LAMP Stack in a Drum.” (There’s a cleaning product called Janitor in a Drum; it’s now available for commercial use, but they used to sell it retail. It was like Mr. Clean without the bald guy with an earring.) Thereafter, when I needed a LAMP stack (called a WAMP stack on Windows and a MAMP stack on Mac, by the way), I would just install XAMPP and voila! Everything would be there.

Now, remember, I’ve been involuntarily retired from the software world for going on three and a half years, and a lot of things change in that much time, plus I haven’t had to think about all this technical stuff in a while. So, I’m a little rusty (you knew I’d get around to the prompt for the day, didn’t you?), and I’m also nowhere near as patient as I was back in the day. But I thought this was the way to go, so I duly installed XAMPP and installed WordPress into it, along with a plugin needed to migrate the database. Exporting the database was easy; importing it, not so much.

Anyway, I get everything installed and working, and try to import the database from, and it didn’t work. Something to do with the database. I go to PHPMyAdmin, an online application that allows me to manipulate the databases, and it doesn’t work. Every time I try to do something, it throws an exception.

I look online, and I discover this was a problem with the way XAMPP was created in the release I had, and installing the most current release would resolve the problem. Thinking I had the latest release, I went looking and found that no, I didn’t have the current release. So I uninstall everything and reinstall the correct XAMPP and WordPress. Now the problems I’m having are related to the permissions I have on the files I’m trying to update.

I would have fixed the problems, but by that time Mary was hungry and wanted me to make pizza for dinner. After all the trouble I had, I thought that was a good idea.

As Murtaugh (played by Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon movies) frequently said, I’m too old for this sh*t.

Just as an aside: the CSS color code for “rust” is #B7410E.


That’s almost the same color as the badge.

Well, okay, not quite.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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